Merve Ertufan

Answersis a performance work where Johanna Adebäck and Merve Ertufan invite participants to ask any question they please. It’s an open mic, all questions are a go. However, any question addressed to Johanna is answered by Merve; and any question addressed to Merve is answered by Johanna. Three subjects engage in a power play: the one who asks, the one asked to, and the one who answers on her behalf.


“Over the space of an hour, the dialogue of the two women passes through phases of friendly affection to aggressively heightened provocation. In this experiment both the psychological dynamics of interpersonal communication and the quality of their facial expressions and language are explored and pushed to their limits as conveyors of meaning.” (Text from exhibition catalogue ISKELE2, Unan- swered Question, 2013)
*This work was produced in December 2012 for ARTER with support from Vehbi Koc Foundation.


31/03/2010 is a video from few hours of an evening, when Johanna and Merve decide to play an alcohol based card game. As many of their personal restrains lift, certain ingrained patterns start to disclose.

Johanna: “Ok, I’ve won two- twice before, and now if you want to give up, I’m the winner. Ok?”
Merve: “No.”
J: “Why no? You’re pulling out the liquor-”
M: “You’re never the winner.”
J: “Why am I not- never the winner?”
M: “You’re never the winner.”
J: “Because I’m meaner than you, waa- you think- you think”
J: “Merve you think you’re such a nice person and you’re the same person that- than me. But it’s just that you are whining a lot and that you are weak, Ok?”
M: “I’m going to puke-”
J: “No, you’re not going to puke.”
M: “I’m really going to puke.”
J: “You are? Do you want me to follow you to the toilet? Oh, come on honey…”
J: “Come come…”


Follow John is a title taken from a Swedish children's game called 'Följa John'. Johanna acts as the ‘John’ in Gothenburg, Merve acts as the ‘John’ in Istanbul. As one takes the lead in her home city, the follower struggles to imitate and fit herself into the leader's actions.


The physical struggle and the friendly ambition prevails the video: an action results in an equal reaction.


In Repeaters, the two try to irritate one another through imitation and exaggeration of words, mimics and gestures. Johanna speaks in Swedish, Merve in Turkish. Neither understand what the other is saying; the conversation is only revealed afterwards with the addition of subtitles..